|Pokémon series character|
|First game||Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire|
|Designed by||Ken Sugimori|
|Voiced by||Katsuyuki Konishi|
Rayquaza (レックウザ Rekkūza?, //) is a Pokémon species in Nintendo and Game Freak's Pokémon franchise. Rayquaza first appeared in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire and subsequent sequels, later appearing in various merchandise, spinoff titles and animated, printed, and film adaptations of the franchise. Rayquaza is the version mascot of Pokémon Emerald. It is also the trio master of the Weather Trio, which contains Kyogre, Groudon, and itself.
Rayquaza was created by Ken Sugimori, with the help of his development team. The Sky High Pokémon, Rayquaza is similar to a cryptid atmospheric beast, spending the majority of its time flying above the clouds in the ozone layer, and appears as a meteor to those on the ground. As such, few have seen this legendary Pokémon. Rayquaza has the ability to negate all weather effects with its ability Air Lock. In contrast, Groudon and Kyogre can summon the weather effects sun and rain, respectively. It is one of the most powerful Pokémon in the franchise and has proven a popular character true to the spirit and concept of the games.
Design and characteristics
As with all the characters introduced in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, Rayquaza was designed by Ken Sugimori with the help of a development team. The name "Rayquaza" comes from a combination of the words ray and quasar. Rayquaza resembles a large serpentine dragon. The design seems to be influenced by Mesoamerican art, especially that of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, the massive feathered green serpent of the skies as well as the god of death and resurrection.
Rayquaza is a dual type Dragon and Flying Pokémon. It has an elongated, green serpent body with yellow oval patterns covering its length. Red-tipped fins extend from its body in groups of three, and additional wing- or rudder-like appendages lengthen from a serpent-like head. Sharp, conical teeth line its mouth and some appear to be covered by gum tissue, similar to a Komodo dragon's. It lacks back legs, but has two arms with three white claws. Its tail is tipped with two small red-edged fins.
Rayquaza eats water particles from the sky where it lives, and only descends when it wants to rest or if its fellow weather Pokémon, Kyogre and Groudon engage in combat. From the ground, Rayquaza appears as a meteor in the sky. As it descends rarely, no one knows about its special powers.
In video games
Rayquaza first appeared in the Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire games, where it could only be located on the top of the Sky Pillar. The player only has one chance to battle and capture Rayquaza; the Pokémon will disappear upon fainting. Rayquaza also serves as the main Legendary Pokémon of Pokémon Emerald, and appears on the cover of the game. In Pokémon Emerald, Rayquaza aids the player in stopping Team Magma and Team Aqua from harnessing the power of Kyogre and Groudon to rule the world. The game also focuses on attempts by these two factions to control Rayquaza, and thus the sky. In Pokémon HeartGold and Pokémon SoulSilver. the player is able to find Rayquaza at the Embedded Tower after catching Groudon and Kyogre and showing them to the Pokémon researcher Professor Oak. (Note that Groudon is exclusive to Pokémon SoulSilver and Kyogre is exclusive to Pokémon HeartGold. The player must trade with the version they do not have, since Professor Oak is only interested in Groudon or Kyogre caught in the Embedded Tower; if they are from anywhere else, he will not give the player the Jade Orb, which is the necessary item to make Rayquaza appear in the game.)
Rayquaza appears in many spin-off games. In Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire, Rayquaza is the focus of the third and final Bonus Field. In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team, Rayquaza acts as the final boss, living on the Sky Tower. After it is defeated, Rayquaza helps save the world from a meteor. After the credits roll, the player can re-battle Rayquaza to recruit it. In Pokémon Ranger, Rayquaza can be captured in a bonus mission after the credits. In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness, Rayquaza is the guardian of the Sky Melodica. In PokéPark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure, Rayquaza is the host of a mini-game called "Balloon Panic". In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Rayquaza shoots down Fox McCloud's Arwing and then attacks both Fox and Diddy Kong, and serves as a boss, a trophy, and a sticker within the game.
In other media
Rayquaza first appears in the film Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys, where it battles Deoxys, believing it is invading the Earth. Eventually, Rayquaza must be saved by Ash Ketchum. After Rayquaza is saved, it decides that Deoxys is not a threat, and returns to the atmosphere. Rayquaza has also appeared briefly in two episodes of the Pokémon anime. Rayquaza also appears up as a card in eight series of the Pokémon Trading Card Game.
In the Pokémon Adventures manga, five years prior to the plot, Ruby accidentally released Rayquaza from a lab. Ruby's dad Norman was placed with the task of tracking down Rayquaza. After many years of tracking, he was able to, with Wally's help, awaken and take command of Rayquaza, using it to calm Groudon and Kyogre in conjunction with Ruby's Red and Blue Orbs. When Norman fell under the strain of controlling Rayquaza without a proper medium, it escaped once again, and has not been seen since.
Rayquaza was featured in a line of Subway restaurant promotional toys, where it decorated the handle of a flying disc called the "Rayquaza Disc". Nintendo also released a version of the Game Boy Advance SP inspired by Rayquaza, with a green color and pictures of the Pokémon on the cover, in order to promote the release of Pokémon Emerald.
Prior to the release of Ruby and Sapphire, some criticized the design of Rayquaza as nothing more than that of a rehashed Digimon. Rayquaza, along with fellow legendary Pokémon Dialga, have been cited as examples of a falling quality in Pokémon design, with one reporter remarking "Rayquaza may seem robotic" but that it still "maintain[s] the concept or idea that Pokémon created". Grey School of Wizardry faculty member Ash DeKirk describes Rayquaza as a giant serpent dragon with Meso-American traits.
Further, IGN criticized the game designers for making Rayquaza too powerful, with stats that cannot be matched by other Pokémon, though it is still admitted that it is a "great Pokémon overall". IGN further claimed Rayquaza was a "heavy-hitting" favorite of fans, and that one could tell Rayquaza's impressiveness before even knowing of its abilities. In 2005, which is the year Pokémon Emerald came out with Rayquaza as the mascot, search engine Yahoo! reported Rayquaza as one of the top Pokémon-related web searches. Raymond Padilla of GamesRadar was critical of Rayquaza's portrayal in the Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys, calling it an indifferent, though effectively frightening, character whose actions near the end of the film border on the ridiculous. Padilla had earlier criticized other aspects of the character, including its name, which he claimed was more reminiscent of a member of the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan than of a Pokémon. On other hand, Rayquaza was ranked 11th in Complex's "The 25 Most Kickass Dragons in Video Games" list, with the writer Obi Anyawu praising his role as peacemaker, which is unusual to a dragon character.
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